Destinations Magazine

Killings at a Berlin Christmas Market Test Germany’s Nerve

By Stizzard
Killings at a Berlin Christmas market test Germany’s nerve

IN THE aftermath, police officers with automatic weapons guarded a cordon 300 metres around the Breitschiedplatz, a busy junction in the middle of Berlin’s shopping district. Beyond the barricades twinkled the sparkly lights on the roofs of little wooden chalets offering Glühwein. A screen normally used for adverts urged people to go home and ignore rumours. Other Christmas markets and some bars had emptied as the news filtered through. In train stations, armed police officers outnumbered passers-by. By late in the evening of December 19th the streets in the normally restless, insomniac German capital were eerily quiet.

All of which contrasted starkly with the carnage and chaos of a couple of hours previously when, at 8.15pm, a lorry had sped into the throng of the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz. Jan Hollitzer, the deputy editor of Berliner Morgenpost, whose offices are nearby, told Canada’s CBC television that he heard noise and screaming from a group of destroyed huts. “Then I saw lights, many Christmas lights, that were shaking. Then the truck came out of the Christmas market…

The Economist: Europe

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